Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Bolivians vote yes for Morales in referendum

Bolivian President Evo Morales and Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera have secured 63.1% of the vote, in a referendum held in Bolivia in early August, in favour of them continuing in office.

Morales’ was first elected in 2005 and is the first Indigenous president of the country. Since election he has introduced reforms to assist and improve living conditions for the poor, Indigenous, farmers and workers in the country. The ballot was held following a campaign of on going disunity and violence waged by the middle class and ruling elite of the four resource rich Departments known as the ‘media luna’.

The Governor of each Department was also up for ratification. The opposition Governors in the four break away Departments were mandated to continue their positions. Illegal ballots have previously been held in some of these areas calling for autonomy from the central government. The opposition organized this on the basis that Morales wanted to expropriate their resources and share them around the country. The results of the illegal autonomy referendums were not recognized by Morales and instead he announced that the country would vote to mandate his presidency. Not surprisingly the opposition has announced they do not recognize these results and instead will continue their campaign for autonomy.

The results of this ballot, while showing majority support for Morales and his program for change also shows that the campaign of the ruling elite is far from over. A strong campaign by the working class and poor of the country continues, to fight the reactionary forces that are dividing the nation. Meanwhile international solidarity campaigns continue to gain momentum. Alternativa Socialista Revolucionaria (ASR), the CWI in Bolivia, has been part of this campaign in Cochabamba and will continue to fight for socialism and democracy.

By Denise Dudley